The worsening situation and carefree establishment
Blood continues to be splattered in Kashmir streets. Over the past some time hardly a day passes when deaths are not reported from one or the other part of the valley. Over the past one 20 people have died in different incidents of violence. Though majority of them are militants but civilians do also form a fair share of these deaths. The killing of a senior functionary of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Hafizullah Mir in south Kashmir’s Achabal area is quite a high profile of these killings. Mir, the district president of the Tehreek, was gunned down outside his house at Badru-Akingam on Tuesday morning. He was recently released from jail after two years of imprisonment under Public Safety Act for leading post-Burhan Wani street rebellion in his area. The same day four militants and an army soldier were killed in a fierce clash at Nadigam in Shopian district. Two civilians were done to death by militants for being “informers” of security forces. Since these are not isolated incidents but a continuous process for the last three decades, human deaths have become a normal business in Kashmir. It is the bereavement for all. If today it is in some part of south Kashmir, tomorrow it could anywhere in central or north Kashmir. There is no time table or calendar for these uncontrolled deaths. Of course, south Kashmir is the worst affected. The gruesome incident has shocked the entire valley and people are fuming under rage and anger. When Governor’s rule was imposed in the state, after the un-ceremonial exit of Mahbooba Mufti, direct threats to Kashmiri people were issued through studio discussions on different TV channels. In one of the debates on India’s most rabid news channels where retired army generals mostly express their opinions was said “aik aik ko mariege, chun chun kar marienge”. They projected Governor’s rule as that of martial law which is a serious reflection on the Governor itself. It is not going overboard to say that central government’s power-driven policy is making peace a difficult proposition in Kashmir. One had thought that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would pick up threads from where his ‘guru’ Atal Bihari Vajpayee had left. Vajpayee, for all his initiatives, was a man of peace. Despite extreme provocations, he never shut the doors of dialogue, neither even with Pakistan nor with the Hurriyat. In fact, he was the first Prime Minister to have initiated dialogue with Hurriyat Conference. The Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference held two rounds of talks with Vajpyee’s deputy L K Advani in January and March 2004. Vajpayee’s dialogue mantra continued with Pakistan despite war in Kargil. After Vajpayee, Congress Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also followed the policy of dialogue.
Hurriyat leaders, barring Syed Ali Geelani, held several rounds of talks with Manmohan Singh. He even allowed Hurriyat leaders to travel to Pakistan to hold talks with Pakistani leadership (then President Gen Musharaf). Though nothing concrete happened in resolving the issue but one could, at least, feel and experience peace on the ground. In the past three decades Kashmir had never been as peaceful as then. There had, also, been occasions (as claimed by former Pakistan foreign minister Khursheed Kasuri) when chances of resolution of the conflict had become real. The immediate effect of Vajpayee’s moves was restoration of peace on borders with Pakistan. A ceasefire was agreed upon between the two countries which quite religiously observed till recent past. It was after advent of Modi as Prime Minister of India that things began to move in reverse direction. The daily deaths are indicative of what is in store for future in Kashmir. The absence of statesman like Vajpyee is highly felt in New Delhi. Vajpyee would never fall to any false propaganda, either raised by media or people in his own establishment. He would not mind going against the wind. The present dispensation is not even a pale shadow of Vajpayee. The disastrous about the present government policy (foreign as also internal) is formulated in TV studios. Prime Minister Modi has to rethink this policy. His hard-line stance might be benefitting his party electorally but it is having adverse effect on India’s image world over.